Acclaim has a new wrestling license, but it's got that same old Attitude.
When the wrestling-license musical chairs ended last year, Acclaim must have felt like it was on the hurtin' end of a Stone Cold suplex, what with EA snagging the WCW license from THQ and an enraged THQ, its spirit meter jacked up to stratospheric levels, responding by wresting the prized World Wrestling Federation license from Acclaim's grasp.
All's fair in love and corporate lumberjack matches, though, so Acclaim pulled itself off the canvas and went out in search of a new franchise. The answer lay as close as the nearest TV, where Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW) holds court weekly on The Nashville Network. Sealing the deal for a long time to come, Acclaim has invested some of its many World Wrestling Federation and Turok bucks in the ECW.
To get Hardcore Revolution in stores as quickly as possible, Acclaim Studios West has pretty much imported the entire World Wrestling Federation: Attitude engine, right down to dubbing the options menu "Utilities" in both games. The names have been changed and ECW stars Chris Chetti and Spike Dudley were motion-captured for the game, but, with one major exception, Attitude fans will be hard put to find significant changes in gameplay.
Hardcore Revolution stuns with plenty of language not fit for the Starr report and enough blood sloshing about the screen to fill the Red Sea. Sensitive souls can turn off both features, but who will?
Select the Death Match option and you'll enter a squared circle littered with tools of the pain trade, including a TV set, stop sign, jumbo cheese grater and guitar case. Play rope-a-dope in a Barbed Wire match and your opponent will spurt more red stuff than the bad guys in a Schwarzenegger shoot-out.
Acclaim likes to say that ECW is one of the top three national wrestling organizations, which is a polite way of saying that both WCW and World Wrestling Federation are much more successful. But the upstart extremers can take credit for feeding an impressive amount of talent to the big leagues, including Steve Austin, Bam Bam Bigelow, the Steiner Brothers, Chris Jericho, Chris Benoit and The Dudley Boyz.
The 40-plus tusslers in Hardcore Revolution's lineup include World Heavyweight Title champion Mike Awesome and World Tag Team Title champions Tommy Dreamer and Raven.
Other Pak stars aspiring to become household names include Nova, "Queen of Extreme" Francine, The Sandman, Danny Doring and our personal favorite, name-wise: Amish Roadkill.
Hardcore Revolution also features selectable jobbers. These sad sacks are fated to take punishment from the big shots until they wilt like last week's bouquet. One of these palookas is appropriately named Buffone, Italian for "clown."
Hardcore Revolution's Create Wrestler feature allows you to select your gladiator's gender, body type, appearance, skin color, strength, toughness, speed, recovery, charisma, personality, mat skills, entrance, off-mat partner, moves, theme song and voice.
You can specify arena type (ECW House, Brick and Elks lodge), lighting, ring mat, ring apron, post and rope colors and three different banners. Many players will doubtless pass many happy hours doodling with the expansive customization options before stepping into the Hardcore ring.
In Exhibition mode alone, Hardcore Revolution boasts a staggering 15 different kinds of matches, including one-on-one, one-on-two, one-on-three (ouch!), and various grueling variations on tag team and battle royal duels. Other modes include Career, Tournament and Pay Per View.